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Crashing the Water Barrier (1956)

The story of Donald Campbell, son of the late Sir Malcolm Campbell, British champion auto-racer, and his efforts to survive driving a jet-powered boat at record speeds on Lake Meade, Nevada... See full summary »

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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Jay Jackson ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Donald Campbell ...
Himself - Speedboat Racer
Leo Villa ...
Himself
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Storyline

The story of Donald Campbell, son of the late Sir Malcolm Campbell, British champion auto-racer, and his efforts to survive driving a jet-powered boat at record speeds on Lake Meade, Nevada. After a number of failures at breaking the water-speed record of 216 mph, Campbell and his boat, the 'Bluebird," set a new record by, at times, breaking 250 mph. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Passed | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

15 April 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sports Parade (1955-1956 season) #4: Crashing the Water Barrier  »

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(RCA Sound System)

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(Warnercolor)
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Trivia

Vitaphone release #2589A. See more »

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The narrator identifies the other credited cast members. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A delightful blend of science and entertainment
21 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Crashing the Water Barrier follows the ambitions of Donald Campbell, an engineer who, in 1956, attempted to set a water speed record on Lake Mead in his water-jet known as "Bluebird." Campbell's father was Sir Malcolm Campbell, who held the record for land speed and water speed, previously. Campbell's ultimate goal was to reach at least 200 mph and survive, for reaching that level of speed could result in the disintegration of the jet itself. Such speeds on water make the water less an uneven surface and more like solid concrete in that speeds are so high, one can't even register that the surface beneath them isn't exactly a surface at all.

Director Konstantin Kalser, and narrator Jay Jackson, work to detail the exploits of Campbell, specifically showcasing the hardships he faced whilst trying to break this record. For one, his air intake system could potentially prevent him from reaching his desire speed, in addition to other uncontrollable, unpredictable features like the weather and the conditions of the water as a result being out of his control.

Crashing the Water Barrier does a nice job of balancing science and entertainment here; the jargon never gets too alienating nor does the entertaining elements become too clearly embellished. Jackson's engaging narration, combined with the attractive, super-colorized videography, create a pleasant aesthetic for a documentary that could've lacked it entirely. This is a solid short documentary, packing enough adventure to be a worthy illustration of its subject and bearing enough information to allow audiences to emerge with new knowledge.

Directed by: Konstantin Kalser.


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